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Author Archives: Mark Lieberman

Mark Lieberman is the former Senior Economist at Fox Business Network. He is now Managing Director and Senior Economist at Economics Analytics Research. He can be heard each Friday on The Morning Briefing on POTUS on Sirius-XM Radio 124.

January Home Sales Up Again

Existing-home sales rose in January for the third time in the last four months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). January sales completed transactions were up 4.3 percent from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million. January sales – completed transactions – were up 4.3 percent from December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million. December's total was revised downward to 4.38 million from 4.61 million. The January 2012 sales pace was up 0.7 percent from January 2011.

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Initial and Continuing Claims for Unemployment Fall Again

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell 13,000 for the week ended February 11 to 348,000, hitting their lowest level since March 2008, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Continuing claims, reported on a one-week lag, fell as well, dropping 100,000 to 3,426,000. That's the lowest reading for continuing claims since August 2008. While the absolute numbers themselves are encouraging, the trend in the filings is more significant.

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Hidden Gems: Freddie Mac’s Refinance Activity Reports

Of the myriad of public reports about the mortgage industry, the quarterly statistics from Freddie Mac on refinance activity offer unique insights not only into the level of refinance lending but what that activity tells us about the housing sector. If you know how to read them, the reports can offer strategic clues for the savvy lender. Loans refinanced into larger loans, for example, speak to a need to supplement lagging incomes, while refinancing into smaller loans allows homeowners to free up cash for consumption.

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New Unemployment Claims Drop, Continuing Claims Rise

First-time claims for unemployment insurance fell by 15,000 for the week ended February 4 to 358,000, remaining below 400,000 for the fourth straight week. The prior week's claims data were revised upward by 6,000, making this week's drop steeper than expected. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance increased 64,000 to 3,515,000 for the week ended January 28, giving back most of the previous week's decline. This week's report continues the generally declining trend in claims filings since last September and indicates the pace of layoffs has slowed.

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Economy Adds 243,000 Jobs in January, Unemployment Rate at 8.3%

In a report released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that could be described only as the Republicans' worst nightmare, the economy added 243,000 jobs in January the strongest month-to-month gain since last March as the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. The unemployment rate, the number of people employed, and the number unemployed were at their best levels since President Obama took office in January 2009. Economists had anticipated about 155,000 new jobs in January.

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Claims for Unemployment Insurance Improve as January Ends

First time claims for unemployment insurance fell 12,000 for the week ended January 28 to 367,000, reversing half of the increase of the previous week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Continuing claims for unemployment insurance fell 130,000 to 3,437,000 for the week ended January 21, the lowest level since August 2008. The total number of individuals receiving benefits was essentially unchanged at 7,670,452. This compares, though, with nearly 13.1 million people classified as unemployed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in December.

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Industry Insights: Too Late to Turn Back

Arbitration provisions are common occurrences in contracts, promissory notes, and other binding agreements between parties. While arbitration is generally favored over litigation as a means of dispute resolution, it is possible for a party to waive its right to enforce an arbitration provision.

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